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"I’ve gained so much confidence and begun to believe in myself..."

Blayk smiling.

Blayk McStay (they/theirs/them)

Blayk was a Home Group customer then hospitality apprentice at the Tyneside Foyer in Newcastle and is now a bank worker in our supported services.

I am non binary and my pronouns are they/theirs/ them. I see myself as a unique soul, rather than a gendered soul.

I was in a rut in my second year at college; I wasn’t enjoying it and felt lost. I had money worries and my benefits had stopped due to my age. I had no work experience and was hearing nothing back from endless amounts of job applications. I was encouraged to join the study programme at Tyneside Foyer and then to apply for an apprenticeship.

I put my best ‘smart casual’ outfit on and kept my head held high; this was a new opportunity for me and I was beyond excited! After the interview I felt optimistic and I got a call back and began my induction.

I’ve gained so much confidence and begun to believe in myself; I’m on the right path and that self-doubt has become self-appreciation due to all the support I’ve had. It’s a great company to work for; there’s a brilliant inclusive culture and individuals are really celebrated for who they are. I’ve worked with colleagues to help them feel comfortable asking questions about pronouns and identity.

Blayk chatting with other apprentice colleagues.

I have had exciting experiences from job-shadowing with the involvement team to doing photoshoots for the marketing team; these experiences have kept me on my toes and supported me on my journey to adulthood.

My eyes have been opened and I now realise that I am capable of so much. I have skills to offer to future employers and I don’t have to change being me.

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